Christian Barnett

Frightening can be fun

‘Have a look at this,’ says Christian, plonking a brief on my desk. ‘I’m not going to tell you the answers. Just see what you think.’

Oh. I’m going to have to think?

This is one month ago now, when I arrived at Christian Barnett and Co. fresh-faced and eager after a summer interning in a huge global marketing agency. I was based in Account Management there, and had spent my days emailing, filing, updating, calling, meeting, chasing. Doing, but not thinking.

And while that was exciting and challenging and I learnt loads, it was also why I’d spent most days gazing jealously across the open-plan office at the Planning and Creative departments, who both seemed to be having a lot more fun. And it’s why I’d eventually snuck across, guerrilla-style, to spend a week undercover in each department (where, as expected, I did have a lot more fun).

And that’s why I was so keen to get started working with Christian and the team. Creative Strategy?

Right up my street.

But it’s also why I was pretty unprepared when that brief landed on my desk. ‘It’s my first day!’ I panicked. ‘I don’t know how to think! What if I get it wrong? I am out of my comfort zone here!’ Thinking is scary. When you have a super long to-do list, it’s stressful, sure, but keep calm and work logically through it and you’ll tick it all off. But when you have to come up with a name for a website, or design activities for a brainstorming workshop, or find out what a focus group in America thinks about air conditioning, or take a trip to the supermarket to analyse how biscuits are positioned on the shelf – all tasks I’ve had to do in the last four weeks – it requires using a completely different part of your brain. But if I’ve discovered anything in the last month, it’s that thinking in this way is ultimately much more interesting and engaging, and is infinitely more rewarding when you do arrive at an answer.

So yes, it’s scary rijophj. But it’s Halloween after all, and if there’s one thing to learn at this time of year it’s that the frightening stuff can also be incredibly fun. Well, so long comfort zone – nice knowing you.

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